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About this terms and conditions document
Your website is an interface for buyers and sellers of any goods. The goods may be ordered via a computer, smartphone, tablet or any other mobile device. This website terms and conditions template sets out the relationship between you and your sellers who put up goods for sale on which commission is paid to you.
It is likely that you will specialise in one niche, but you could cover a wide variety of services. You do not need to have more than one seller client but we assume that you will. Most of your sellers probably use your services because they do not have an internet facility for taking money or because your marketing service is better than they could achieve. You are simply marketing and collecting money.
Because each marketplace website has its own business model, we provide separate agreements for terms with buyers and sellers. You should therefore pair this document with the most suitable buyer side marketplace T&C document we offer.
Is this template suitable for your website?
This template is for any website that creates a marketplace where physical goods are sold. It doesn't matter what type of good is sold, provided that it is a 'physical' good and not downloaded. Your site could connect buyers and sellers of small 'consumer' items such as rare coins or electrical homewares or large items used by businesses, such as office equipment or mechanical plant.
Examples of websites for which this template could be used include:
- websites that create online shop fronts for manufacturers, wholesalers or producers where the product descriptions are controlled by the seller.
- trading sites for second-hand goods (for example, books, furniture, computer parts, collectables) where the owner offers an item for sale
- sites that bring together retailers of different types of goods to offer a one-stop shopping experience to buyers (an online 'department' store where each retailer has a separate concession)
The template suits sites that:
- operate in the Republic of South Africa. Sellers and buyers could be located anywhere in the world.
- connect buyers with sellers. Your business should not also be a seller, nor should it hold stock or fulfil orders on behalf of sellers.
- provide payment facilities, collect taxes and fees and reimburse the seller the net sales value.
- have sellers that are paid on: a commission basis; a transaction fee basis; through advertising; or not at all.
- allow sellers to upload their own product pages or product advertisements.
- provide an advertising service to sellers.
- have regular sellers (for example, ones that operate their business from your site), or allow one-off sales. Sellers could be in business or be transacting privately.
The benefit of clear terms and conditions
Website terms and conditions are probably the best example of a legal document where use of plain language strengthens the legal effect of the document. If a dispute should arise, it would be hard for a user of your site to claim that he did not understand, even if English is not his first language.
Using this document on your website will help you:
- set out clearly how your business works and how sellers should operate
- ensure buyers receive the quality of service that you aim to provide - and that you can act against third party sellers who overstep the boundaries
- present a professional image of your business. Our use of plain language helps ensure that sellers do not feel intimidated by overly formal or legalistic language
- prevent misunderstandings and make solving disputes easier
- protect your website from misuse (we include paragraphs that set out exactly how sellers can advertise their goods, and what they cannot do)
- protect your business from complaints about content that your sellers posted - particularly important if sellers can post product information or interact with buyers without you actively monitoring every post or message
This document only provides the terms between your business and sellers that sell goods through your marketplace website. You will need a matching document that regulates the relationship with buyers and other site visitors.
- If buyers are required to subscribe (or become members) of your site before they can access the marketplace, then you should use Website terms and conditions template: marketplace for goods; buyer subscribes for access in conjunction with this one.
- If there is no requirement for buyer membership before purchase, then you should use Website terms and conditions template: marketplace for goods; buyer side.
- If your site creates a marketplace for services, not for physical products, Website terms and conditions template: marketplace for services; seller side should be used instead of this document.
If you are in any doubt as to which T&C template you should choose, please contact us.
The law in this document
The law in these T&C is largely common law that deals with the basics of contracts: offer, acceptance, price and payment, provision of service, liabilities and risk. By and large, you can set the terms you want, particularly the commercial ones. The document should be edited so that it reflects exactly how your business works. Our guidance notes will tell you what you can change safely, and what we don't advise changing.
This template allows you to comply with the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 2002. .,.The Consumer Protection Act 2008 and other latest consumer protection legislation allowing your sellers to sell to businesses or consumers.
The terms and conditions template includes provisions that cover both the relationship between the seller and the buyer and the relationship between your business and the seller.
It includes terms relating to:
- Basis of contract between your business and the seller
- Responsibility of the seller to provide accurate personal information to you
- Product placement on your website
- Delivery by the seller to the buyer
- Seller's compliance with the Consumer Protection Act 2008
- Seller's compliance with your returns and refund policy
- The selling procedure (detailing how a contract is formed between the seller and a buyer)
- Value Added Tax
- Order fulfilment
- Fees payable to your business and payment to the seller
- Terms of advertisement of a product
- Warranties regarding products advertised on the site
- Acceptable Use Policy
- Restrictions on use of your website
- Removal of offensive content
- Security of your website
- Protection of copyright and other intellectual property rights
- Interruption to service
- Disclaimers and limitation of liability
- Miscellaneous legal matters to protect your business
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- Detailed guidance notes explaining how to edit each paragraph
- This document
- Detailed guidance notes explaining how to edit each paragraph
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- Review of your edited document by our legal team including:
- reporting on whether your changes comply with the law
- answering your questions about how to word a new clause or achieve an outcome
- checking that your use of defined terms is correct and consistent
- correcting spelling mistakes
- reformatting the document ready to sign